Small Business Lesson 362: Imitation is not the highest form of flattery, it's called stealing'.
A few years ago, l thought the 'feeling' of flattery would conjure up positive emotions, filled with endorphins that would elevate me to new heights. With the intent of not being a kill joy and having gratitude for the life l lead, there has been a significant amount of 'imitation' that in the world of business we once called ' healthy competition'.
However, when did good ol' fashion competition in the market place become reminiscent of gangster imitation?
When starting in your small business, it is wise of you to list down on your business plan who your competition is in the market place. It is imperative to know not only who is out there, but understanding what your point of difference is in a simple standard response. Trust me, this standard response will melt out of your mouth like honey over a hundred times in the first few weeks of opening your business, because people like nothing more than to 'compare' you with A,B & C, even if you think your incomparable. And if you truly believe you are incomparable, then this exercise should be very easy for you.
Arrogance in small business is fine to an extent, but if you are busy doing your thang, then you will quickly see that arrogance is a time waste and a humbled approach to how you view yourself in your 'market' is necessary. The advocacy MUST be left to your customer. Just think of the last person who told you how fabulous they were and how much you wanted to punch them in the face! (Sorry, slightly sleep deprived and nearing the full extent of the flu - boo hooo me). Yet, when unexpectedly you are told by your Barista about that cool furniture store down Church Street in Richmond and you are in the market for a cool new buffet in your apartment, well l shall coin the Google term of 'relevancy' here. It simply means, you believe it more because the Barista gets nothing out of this statement, other than being the cool chick in the know!
So in a time where l have found that my healthy competitors have turned Gangstar on me by either simply copying my brands look and feel, calling in local councils to find a flaw in my store set up, having my products smells, taste and colours copied & my latest greatest one of having a trade mark infridgement law suit delivered by what looked like a google searched letter head pretending to be a firm and serious matter.... l say to this my fellow Small Business FRIENDS - this will most likely happen to you at some point of your career, especially when you pass the 5 year mark. This anniversary date seems to give a statement that you are in it for the long haul and invested beyond that 'I have a dream' moment. In essence, at 5 years you win the award for TOP THREAT DUDETTE - so with your new title l knight you with strips to fight the war on copy cats from Ballarat and wish you happiness on this War on Imitation. After all, we have just been complemented right?
Has this happened to you?